We note with sadness the passing of Michael McConnell, Regional Director of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). He died over the weekend after a lengthy illness.

Over many years, the ACLU of Illinois represented the AFSC and Michael as they pursued their missions of peace and social justice. In everything that he did, Michael displayed a powerful intelligence, serene dignity and an unwavering commitment to the common good that served as an inspiration to all who knew him.

In 2002, the AFSC served as the organizing facilitators to plan demonstrations in opposition to the Trans-Atlantic Business Dialogue, a group of international business leaders meeting in Chicago. Despite the fact that the AFSC had an 80-year history of pacifism and peaceful protest, the Chicago Police Department sent an undercover officer into the planning meetings. Michael, always ready to defend freedom of association and speech went to court with ACLU and reaffirmed AFSC good standing in the community through a settlement with the City. In this, and in many other instances, we were proud to stand with Michael and the AFSC.

ACLU of Legal Director Harvey Grossman, a long-time friend of Michael’s, remembered him as “a true champion for social justice and peace. He was a loving, decent, gentle man, who had a fierce determination to seek equality for all. He will be dearly missed.”